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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 29, 2011 8:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

I like Sunrise; it can be beautiful. Check out 5/9/77 and 5/11/77.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 29, 2011 9:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

I think Sunrise is a great song, definitely the best Donna lead vocal. It represents a musical style and direction the band never really pursued, I think, perhaps because it overlaps with some aspects of 70s pop that don't blend very well with the "classic rock" elements.

As much as I enjoy the song, the lyrics have a certain "hippie-dippie" quality. I have a vague memory it is intended as a description of some kind of ceremony?

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 29, 2011 9:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

Yeah, I checked Deadnet, and it says the lyrics are thought to refer either to Rex Jackson (which I don't quite get) or a ceremony with the shaman Rolling Thunder, who I gather was pretty closely connected with that whole circle.

There's a book on Rolling Thunder that came out around that time, and it's one of the books I was really into for a while (along with Carlos Castaneda, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ... there's probably a whole list of books that could be put together that were The Unofficial Reading List for college-age folks of a certain inclination for a while there.) It would probably strike me as rather fluff-brained now, but openness to other spiritualities was a very new and even radical thing in the world then -- and not necessarily cultlike, IMO -- so there's some real eye-opening stuff within the hippie-dippieness.

Funny what you said about it being "70s pop" rather than "classic rock." While I wouldn't put it quite that way -- to me, 70s pop and classic rock mean different things -- I've thought of it as a song that showed what the Dead might have been like if they'd been some other group and not the Dead! I think of it as being more Maria Muldaur, maybe, or even Bonnie Raitt ... not what I think of as "pop" exactly, but also not what the Dead did. Still more Dead-ish than Brent tunes, though :-)

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 29, 2011 10:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

It's been a while since I've read or heard about Zataomm (how's that for an odd acronym, eh? See? It even looks like a perfect word for the time period and the ethos you so aptly describe...had to read that damn book for at least two different classes in HS/College).

Frankly, I have to agree with DMax on the whole cult-esque image that Sunrise always gave me...yuck. And I actually think BKid hit the nail on the head: it was a path untaken for the DEAD, but they started down the path, for sure, and that in part is what led me to disapprove of them more and more in the late 70s (BlfofAllah, Disco for another path partially taken). I know it can be turned around to "but they just responded to the changing times, sampling this, sampling that" and to which I add "double yuck".

It was the rejection of such that drew me to them; you carry this "receptive to the times" too far and you end up singing "We built this city..." and anyone that doesn't throw up when they hear that needs serious help. Or lethal injection.

Rant over.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 29, 2011 10:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

You had it assigned? Geez, everyone I knew read it on their own while avoiding doing the assigned reading! I'm sure I'd have hated it if it was assigned. It was more a Guy Thing, anyway, what with having to do with motorcycles. Well, I guess you were in SF, so your high school teachers were trying to be hip. Now that's a way to ruin a book.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 30, 2011 6:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

I actually liked it later on...after the effect wore off, but more as a reminder of the time and place. I was NOT a "reader" when young. I never sat still, to have time to do it. Once I became "old", seriously, I had a LOT of catching up to do...I was very much of the "experiential school" of things, and it in fact very much bothered me to find out the band members were, in effect, "book snobs" (Jerry's famous comments about Brent, etc).

I detest people like that.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 29, 2011 10:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: We built this city on artistic disasters

One of the most shocking discoveries of my life was learning that there was a connection between "We Built This City" - a song so awful that even my pre-adolescent, Top 40 radio listening self hated it - and the creators of "Surrealistic Pillow." As a young person getting into the GD and related music, I had no reason to suspect there was any connection between the entities "Starship" and "Jefferson Airplane" and I recall that I didn't believe it the first time someone told me - I thought they were trying to hoax me until published references were produced.

Things can go the other way, too, though - after all, where would we be if Bob Dylan had never decided to plug in, or if the Beatles had stayed with their 1963 sound and style?

I know you aren't a fan of the later styles explored by the band, but I don't think they were usually a result of the band trying to sell out to achieve popularity - maybe some of the production used in the studio albums fits that description, but I don't hear much of the songwriting in that way. "Sunrise" is kind of an unusual song for the band since it wasn't written by their usual composers.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 29, 2011 11:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: We built this city on artistic disasters

I still refuse to believe it. I think there were some personnal changes, and I believe the rest had their brains replaced by aliens. Hence the name change to Starship.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Jul 29, 2011 10:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

you kids get off my lawn...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 30, 2011 6:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

Off my fucking Forum?

Well, of course, I actually got to liking some of them...the ones with...no, not gonna do it.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 29, 2011 9:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the GD reading list

I'm about half-a-generation your junior, I think, but the Castaneda books and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance were still very much part of the Deadhead literary experience in my day, as well. I'd be interested to hear what other books are in that category for you - what has a personal sense of "connection" to the Grateful Dead milieu?

For me, in addition to the obvious choice of "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Wolfe, I think Hunter Thompson's books on the Hell's Angels, the 72 election, and of course Vegas, are part of the literary culture of heads. I'd also throw in Robert Anton Wilson (both Illuminatus! and Cosmic Trigger). In the later era, "PiHKAL" by the Shulgins was really enthusiastically embraced by the heads I knew.

I suppose a lot of people would add in Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Kerouac, but I perceive those slightly older books as relating more to the culture of the GD themselves, and given honorary status by GD followers.

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Poster: Jacky Hughes Date: Jul 30, 2011 2:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the GD reading list

I really liked the Carlos Castaneda books too.

My essential books for this era were: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey and more or less anything by Alan Watts.

I remember being very taken with The Politics of Ecstasy at the time, but looking back I now acknowledge that it was an incredibly naive book. Mind you, they were naive times.

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Poster: boltman Date: Jul 30, 2011 6:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the GD reading list

We have almost exactly the same list with "Electric Kool-Aid" and the "Illuminatis Trilogy" up there. Kerouac really did it for me as well, though you are correct in it being a little older than the others. Found some sci fi spoke to me in the same way though not having a direct connection..."Stranger in a Strange Land", "Dune", Silverberg's "Amber" series.

I may have to pull out one of those and take a reread.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 30, 2011 7:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the GD reading list

Dune was assigned reading in more than one sci fi course for me as well...waited a long time for the movie; Sting? Some parts are amusing, but overall, coulda been better, eh?

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Poster: boltman Date: Jul 31, 2011 7:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the GD reading list

Exactly as you say, some parts were interesting, but the movie was generally overly ambitous and never reached the heights that the book did. Found the ending rain particularly disappointing...

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Poster: deadmax Date: Jul 29, 2011 8:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

I'll check it out for you AR but it just sounds like a cult or something.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 29, 2011 8:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

Ah well, if ya don't like it, ya don't like it. I'd never like even the very best Easy to Skip You :-)

Incidentally, if you're feeling musically masochistic and yet have your sense of humor turned on, here's my very first-ever encounter with From the Heart of Me. What you want to hear is the middle-school cussing at the end.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1978-11-18.sbd.miller.81131.sbeok.flac16

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-07-30 03:48:13

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Poster: deadmax Date: Jul 29, 2011 8:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

Now see, that's a song I can tolerate and even like on a good night but I understand how you can feel that way about it. I think it's just that was the first new album they released after I started listening so it reminds me of a happy time in my life.

Don't get me wrong, I like the music, its the words that get to me.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 29, 2011 9:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

That's interesting, cuz your interpretation may make more sense than mine, but I've always seen it as a kind of love song filled with spiritual (Native American) imagery that sets a scene or a mood but is only partly what it's about. Like Kate Wolf's Brother Warrior. But then, I'm inclined to give rather vague, "poetized" interpretations to songs that may actually be more literal ...

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Poster: clementinescaboose Date: Jul 29, 2011 11:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Donna Songs

If there's any version of this song I can sort of dig, it's that one.

For the most part I really don't like her songs much. From the Heart of Me is OK.

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